How to Choose a Guardian and Trustee

How to choose the right guardian and trustee in your living trust when you don't have a perfect guardian or trustee.


If you have young children, you need to choose a guardian and successor trustee. Your guardian is the person who will raise your children if something happens to you. Your successor trustee is the person who will manage your living trust assets for your children. 

Choosing someone to raise your kids and manage your assets is not easy. Some people are lucky and have one or two great people capable of doing both. Most of us aren’t that lucky.

So how do you choose a guardian or successor trustee if you don’t have great candidates?

Turn the process upside down. 

You only have a few people in your close network to consider. Good or bad, those are your candidates. You’re not going to meet a new best friend tomorrow. You have to go with the people you have. But instead of asking who is the best qualified person in your network, you can ask who is the least bad. I know this sounds strange, but someone you know and trust, even if not the perfect potential guardian or trustee, is much better than leaving it for a judge to decide. 

Right now you have no estate plan. An imperfect estate plan is way better than no estate plan. Don’t let your perceived lack of perfect candidates for guardian and trustee stop you from protecting your family. You can always amend your estate plan in a few years when you find the perfect, or, not as imperfect, guardian and trustee.

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